Abdullah ranked ninth in the FBS this season with 1,690 rushing yards, to go with nine touchdowns. The first team All-Big Ten honoree had at least 100 yards rushing in 11 different games.
Abdullah released a 392-word statement through the school in which he mentioned his modest upbringing as the youngest of nine children in his family. Every one of his siblings, he said, has earned a college degree.
"While it may be true that none of my siblings were presented with the possibility of playing professional sports, it is equally true that the average NFL career, because of the violent nature of the sport, is less than five years," he said in the statement. "In analyzing these truths, I have come to realize that life is bigger than football, and that my chances of long-term success in life will be greatly enhanced by completing my college education."
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini praised Abdullah for what he called "a very thoughtful" decision.
"Ameer has the opportunity to leave a legacy at Nebraska that will put him among the all-time greats to play here," Pelini said in a statement released through the school. "He is a young man that is deserving of being a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy and other national awards in 2014."